Janice Rand hurried down the corridors of the Enterprise. Most of the crew had already beamed over to Starbase 17 for shore leave. The Enterprise would be in orbit for at least eight days while repairs were made to the impulse engines, so those looking to jump ship as it were had wasted no time. None of this mattered to the blonde haired woman as she turned the corner and spotted the cabin she was headed for. In 72 hours she was due to report aboard the survey ship Crockett. If she left by tomorrow morning, she would be able to link up with her new assignment before they set out on another deep space probe. But first she had one last thing to take care of.
She knew she had spent far too much time deciding on the contents of the small box she carried. What if its intended recipient had already left on leave. With a deep breath she reached out and rang the door chime. Her look of anxiety immediately changed to a smile as the door slid open.
"Uhura?" she called out as she entered the room.
"Be out in a minute..." came the voice from the other room.
Janice was so glad she was in time. She would never have forgiven herself if she never got the chance to say goodbye.
"Hello Janice," Nyota Uhura said as she glided into the room wearing a long flowing white dress, cut low to display an ample bosom. "I see my message caught up to you, you're just in time for dinner."
"Dinner?" Janice asked.
"Yes, dinner. You know, some good food, a nice wine, maybe a little interesting conversation. You did get the message I left on your comstation?"
"No, I haven't been back to my room all day. I've been running around so much, trying to get everything done. My orders came in, I'm going to the Crockett."
"You know?" Janice said in surprise "I only found out this morning."
"Ten minutes after I did," Uhura said as she smiled. "I'm Chief Communications Officer ... remember?"
Janice felt a little silly, of course her friend would've seen her orders as soon as they came in.
"Well good fortune smiles on both of us, dinner is nearly ready and you're here just in time." Uhura said as she indicated the table settings with a flourish of her outstretched hand. "I couldn't let your last night on the Enterprise consist of an empty ward room and pot luck from the galley."
"Thank you." Janice replied. "I only wish I'd gotten the message. Then at least I could've dressed for the occasion." she added as she indicated the red uniform dress she wore.
"Nonsense," Uhura said as she poured two glasses of wine and handed one to Rand. "I think you would've worn the uniform anyway, any chance to show off that new Lieutenant's stripe."
Janice could only smile at her friend's good natured ribbing as she accepted the wineglass.
"A toast," the dark skinned woman said as she raised her glass. "To Lieutenant Janice Rand."
"To Lieutenant Commander Nyota Uhura," Janice counter toasted. "Without who's help and encouragement I'd never have won officer's bars."
"You'd have made it on your own, Janice." Uhura said after drinking the toast. "All I did was give you a little push now and then."
"Well either way, I'm very grateful for those pushes." Rand answered as she placed her glass on the table and picked up the small package she had brought. "This is for you."
Uhura held the package in her hands and carefully undid the gold and white paper wrapping. She opened the box and lifted out a gold chain and locket. The locket was carved in the shape of a unicorn's head, with a diamond set in place of an eye.
"I know its a little thing," Janice said. "But I've always liked unicorns. Maybe because they were so rare — just like real friends."
"I think it's beautiful." Uhura beamed as she lifted it around her neck and locked the chain into place. The light brightly reflected off the polished locket, forming a sharp contrast against the dark brown breasts it rested between.
"Thank you." Uhura said as she leaned over and kissed Janice on the cheek. "I'll treasure it."
Just then the timer for dinner went off, causing a break in the moment. Uhura looked like she wanted to say something else, but stopped at the sound. She looked into Janice's blue eyes for a moment, then simply said.
"I guess we'd better sit down to eat."
Janice had to admit, the dinner had been one of the finest she had ever tasted. The wine had also been excellent, and the conversation best of all. She was realizing shat she would miss most about the Enterprise was this woman sitting across from her.
"I've got a little something for you too." Uhura said as she handed Janice a flat package across the table.
"Oh my lord!" Janice exclaimed in surprise as she opened it. "Where in the world did you ever get this?"
In the package was a photograph of a very young crewman Rand reporting for duty aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise for the very first time. And the officer she was reporting to was a Lieutenant named Nyota Uhura.
"I found it in the archives and thought it might make a nice keepsake of your time here."
"I was so young." Janice said. "Look at that hairdo I used to wear."
"Oh it wasn't all that bad." Uhura said, moving over to stand over Rand's shoulder and lean down to get another look at the photograph.
"Yes it was, I thought it made me look so much older, I was just 19."
"Yet even then I could see the potential in you."
"I can't see how. I wasn't even onboard a week before I fell head over heels for the Captain, like some love struck schoolgirl."
"You and eighty percent of the female population on board." smiled Uhura.
"And then when I was assigned as his yeoman, I used to have runaway fantasies."
"Well it's a pity that we weren't closer back then, I could've saved you a lot of frustration."
"What do you mean?" Janice asked as she looked into Nyota's brown eyes just inches away.
"Well ... let me put it this way. Christine Chapel had more of a chance waking up and finding Spock sharing her bed than you did Jim Kirk."
"I don't understand."
"The Captain could be the most charming man in the universe when he wanted to be, always making the female heart go aflutter. But he had one firm rule that he would never get involved in anyone under his command."
"I guess that also answers something else I've always wondered about."
"And what would that be?" asked the dark woman.
"If you and the Captain had ever ... you know."
"Don't be so sure about that answer, my friend." Nyota said smiling as she rose to her feet. "Jim Kirk wasn't always a Captain ... and I wasn't always under his command."
Janice just sat there speechless for a moment, then followed Nyota over to the plush couch in the center of the room.
As they talked, Uhura gently stroked the locket hanging between her breasts. She would miss Janice, she was like a little sister at times, one that had grown in to a very special friend. The locket would always remind her of that friendship. She now wished she had given her something more than just the photograph.
"I really am going to miss you Nyota," Janice said. "I don't think I realized until just now how much."
"It's funny, I was just thinking the same thing." Uhura replied. "But I guess that's life in Starfleet. But even though we're lightyears away from each other, we'll still have our memories."
"I guess that's true," Rand said half-heartedly. "And we'll keep in touch of course."
"Honey, if a communication's officer can't keep in touch, who can?"
They both laughed at the joke.
"There's is one more thing I did want to give you." Uhura said.
"What was that?"